living

Sheila Bair Q&A: Protect borrowers, banks

One of the things that has happened since the crisis was the passage of Dodd-Frank and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Do you think consumers are any better off with that kind of a body in place?

I think they are. I think the CFPB's mere existence has heightened awareness of consumer protection and treating consumers in a way that's fair. I don't agree with everything they've done, but I think they have improved the consumer regulations. I think the mortgage disclosures are clearer. It takes a thousand pages (laughing) to explain them. Those are more clear.

This "QM" (qualified mortgage) rule -- I don't like it because I didn't like what Congress did. The Congress told them to do this QM rule, so I think given the instructions that were given, they did a pretty good job with it, a pretty balanced job. And I think their enforcement presence -- again, people are awake now. Financial institutions are awake on protecting consumers and understanding their obligations to consumers. Not all of them were as attentive to that as they should have been prior to the crisis. So I think those are net positive things. I think the consumer bureau has done well.

It sounds like the Republicans now, instead of trying to get rid of it, really want to look at structural changes, like a commission instead of (a) director. And there's legitimate argument for that structure. I hope the debate centers on governance issues like that and not whether we should have it or not, because I think we should have it.

So, about the GOP efforts that supporters of the CFPB say are really meant for taking the teeth out of the agency, you don't necessarily see it that way?

It depends on what kind of reform you are talking about. I think having a commission as opposed to a director: No, I don't think that takes the teeth away. We had a board structure at the FDIC. They have one at the Fed. Lots of agencies have board structures. It is always about who you appoint. If you get a single director or a board, you need to have high-quality people who are committed to public service on those boards. I think, if anything, boards are better because they guard against regulatory capture going one way or the other.

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
MORTGAGE HOME EQUITY AUTO CDs CREDIT CARDS
Product Rate Change Last week
30 year fixed, 0 point 4.32%  0.06 4.26%
15 year fixed, 0 point 3.36%  0.09 3.27%
5/1 ARM 3.37%  0.10 3.27%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
30K FICO-based HELOC 4.74%  0.01 4.75%
50K FICO-based HELOC 4.51%  0.01 4.50%
100K FICO-based HELOC 4.24% --0.00 4.24%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
60 month used car loan 2.86%  0.20 3.06%
48 month used car loan 2.79%  0.40 3.19%
60 month new car loan 2.94%  0.10 2.84%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
1 Year CD 0.90%  0.02 0.88%
2 Year CD 1.02%  0.01 1.03%
5 Year CD 1.59%  0.01 1.60%
 
View Rates in your area Search
Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.71%  0.01 15.70%
Cash Back Cards 16.36% --0.00 16.36%
Low Interest Cards 10.91% --0.00 10.91%
 
Search
advertisement
FRUGAL NEWSLETTER

Discover new ways to cut costs and save more every day. Reduce your spending, not life’s pleasures. Delivered weekly.

advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us